Rooftop picnic with my girls and Ceri. The season is changing and one of the ways I can tell is that I'm getting nesty. Summer remains in all its August loveliness, and yet I'm starting to think about making things like soup, and ways to preserve this bounty. But nothing can preserve what it's like to eat fresh Ontario tomatoes, peppers and corn outdoors on a clear summer evening. August – I'm hanging on to you for all I'm worth.
Monday night and a gentle walk in the Harbour and the Toronto Music Garden. The season is changing – the birds are gathering and readying for migration, vegetation is ripening, and a few leaves are already beginning to fall. If I didn't love this time of year so much, I might start mourning the summer in advance of its leaving us.
Tonight, after supper, I go out for a lazy walk to find a photo. While I'm standing there pointing my camera, it isn't the western sky with its delicate crescent moon getting my attention. It's the symphony of crickets in, appropriately, the Toronto Music Garden to my right.
August, I love you. Don't rush off, okay?
Last night my girls came to dinner. For awhile we had the rooftop patio to ourselves, which was surprising because as summer nights go, it couldn't have been more perfect.
The summer night is like a perfection of thought. ~Wallace Stevens
Tonight we were standing on Cherry Beach, talking about that movie from the 70's, Summer of '42. The thing I love best about this beach is that it still looks like it could be 1942.
The day was changeable – there was warm sun and blue skies, then clouds would move in quick and let fly a little rain, and then the gusty breeze would chase those clouds away again.
It's August and the atmosphere has changed in general, as if by turn of the calendar's page. They're suble at first, this particular month's changes; maybe imperceptible if you're going about your life with your mind on other things.
My mind is always on August. I think August is more beautiful with each passing of it through my life. (Or with each passing of me through it.)
Maybe I just dread winter more and more each year, and August represents the tipping of the scales in winter's direction. As a friend and I discussed this morning, August is that month that invites you outside, and if you don't get out enough you start to get panicky about that; that summer will up and disappear on you even quicker than you'd imagined.
And August, softer, slower, more generous than the other summer months, rewards you for going out. Foods with deep colours and more luscious than ever - corn, cantaloupe, beans, peppers, tomatoes – are piled the farmer's market. Other rich colours begin to line the ditches and fields. Night time is cooler and time stands quieter while vacations and road trips are carried out before the preparations for back to school and back to full time responsibilities in, dare I say, autumn.
August seduces me, leading me outside often. And for that I love her – maybe more than all the other months.
It was August at the end of Summer of '42. Subtle changes in the air – bigger changes in that boy. Are there changes in me this season? I don't know – get back to me in September, my mind is on the gorgeousness of the waning summer. (Beautiful thing number 54)
I should be going to bed but I can’t move away from the breeze coming in the balcony door. The season is changing, the air delicious; like that you might love in summer, but cooler, more substantive, lustier.
Tonight, on my walk, that breeze whips around like a playful child. Not so much a wind – it dances rather than rips. Energy and electricity are transported into my body; like droplets from the lake are being hurled up in grand funnels and rained down into my pores.
There are fewer people around the piers now. Another sign of the waning season. Vacations are finishing and families are heading home, focusing on things like school. And the people that remain seem different too – the conversations more lively, bodies seem a little more alert. There is less lolling in the walking – more vigour.
I walk by a group of about six sitting on a bench. Against the lights behind them, they are silhouetted – black figures, interacting in a conversation that wafts in and out of my earshot with the wind. The voices sound maybe Dutch or German. Each one is engaged with the group – I think of da Vinci’s The Last Supper, the shapes of these particular people leaning into or away from each other evokes lively discourse, like that painting.
The silhouetted people are sitting near a docked sailing ship. It must be because this particular ship is sitting north/south rather than east/west that she, unlike the other sailing ships moored along the piers, has ropes clanging a rhythmic, groovy beating against her masts. I think of drumming circles I’ve heard and that this is just as beautiful in its repetitive chant.
When I walk by the same spot on my way back and find the people still on the bench, still engaged in conversation, leaning into and away from one another, and the ropes still beating their clangy pace against the masts, I think that for sure it’s that sound which drew the group to that particular bench in the first place.
The wind whips my hair and my sweater. The air is electric. I’m glad I can’t see the colour of the clouds because I might not have enjoyed the walk as much if I’d known a storm was imminent.
But then, without the benefit of light in the sky you know your other senses. There's no storm – just a raucous, sexy night. A night that seems to be leaving me and my summer dreams down here on earth where we belong.
August I want to hide in you; to bathe alone in your ethereal yellows and purples and greens; and then float away with the Queen Anne’s Lace on the side of the dirt road.
I want to crawl into your burgeoning ditches and sleep away long nights while you tread slow, waving breezes with your arms, making soft kisses on my skin.
I want to awaken with your dew in the grass in morning and find that the new pears and apples and rhubarb and gooseberry and tomato upstarts have already started the coffee and breakfast which we will of course have outside.
Rubbing my eyes I’m begging now, don’t leave August.
I need you with your lolling boats in the pendulum waters; your mellow and rich demeanour bewitching, casting sunshine diamonds on the water and pulling warm breath from the rocks.
August, you are summer grown up; I have caught up with you.
But don’t go.